Gambia – The cancelled state opening of Gambia’s parliament racked up to more than four million dalasis in expenditure, competent sources have told Freedom.
The annual ritual was called off after the country’s president Yahya Jammeh rubbished it at the eleventh hour.
Almost all the guests including foreign dignitaries were seated when the announcement was made.
It is mandatory under Gambia’s constitution for the president to present his government’s development programmes and policies before Gambian lawmakers.
Opposition politicians singled out the March 16 development as an example of profligate waste of state resources by Yahya Jammeh.
An opposition Member of Parliament said he could not imagine a more outrageous waste of money by Yahya Jammeh.
“The organisers were invited to State House again by Yahya Jammeh where he gave them extra 700, 000 dalasis for the event to take place on Thursday (tomorrow),” he told Freedom.
“Four million dalasis is what was given initially as expenditure but if you break down this, it may have gone beyond the full cost of the event.”
Gambia, one of the smallest countries in Africa, is currently struggling to deal with a number of problems, among them the debt crisis.
The growth in the volume of debt resulted from massive borrowing from both domestic and external sources by Yahya Jammeh.
The domestic debt alone now stands at 22 billion dalasis.
Analysts and international lending organisations such as the IMF say poor management of public debts coupled with sharp practices by Yahya Jammeh resulted in escalation of the country’s debt burden.
Some have wondered why his government should keep accumulating public debt when it has no capacity to manage Gambia’s rising debt stock.
Written By Our Correspondent